“What do you use for…”
This is the start of a lot of questions that I have heard more and more often. I think it's something that we all hear as entrepreneurs and business owners especially when we are networking. Because often we are hustling and running around, we don't get a chance or have enough time to “ask the audience” so to speak.
Often we have people that we respect for their strengths, it might be writing, it might be accounting or HR. One of the things that I've learned from being in networking groups is that having at a least one–or preferably a group of people to ask for resources is important. What I also started learning is that my expertise or “lane that I'm staying in” is technology.
Here's the reality for me. I've been in business for a little over 4 years and I have used a lot of different tools. I have 8 team members that all work at different times and in different parts of the world. We have to be efficient and leverage technology. I manage a community of business blogs that gets thousands of views each month and features thousands of entrepreneurs, not to mention a podcast and a TV site that I'm ramping up. Let's just say I need to be extremely efficient. Which is true of every entrepreneur and business owner that I spoke with.
One thing that I can say–largely because I've bootstrapped my business is that I've been extremely efficient and leveraged technology really well. Another thing that I know is that I prefer to build my own system. It might be because of my love of creating things but I've learned rather than have an “all-in-one” solution which has ok or good attributes, I prefer to identify the great of each of the programs that I use and merge them together into the best system that does exactly what I want it to do for the price that I want it to. I want my CRM to be my CRM but I don't want it handling my e-mail marketing. I want my scheduling software to be my scheduling software, but I don't want it to be my invoicing system. However, I do want all of them to communicate in certain situations.
This is one reason that I'm changing my scheduling software (more on that in a future post). It's not because it's not good. It's because I want it to stay in it's lane (so to speak). It's my responsibility to merge these different systems together to fit my needs. I know what I want it to do and that's what I will do. I don't over or underpay because everything does exactly what I want.
What I've Learned
I'm starting to learn over the past few years that everyone doesn't love building their own technological masterpiece. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to launch B16.co in 2018. A lot of business owners simply don't realize the amount of power they have at their finger tips with all of this technology. That's what I hope to help out with on B16.co. These are some of the questions that I get or things that I hear (I literally got most of these questions this past week).
- How to do you invoice clients? I use a excel spreadsheet or Word document.
- I like the scheduling tool that you use. How do I set that up?
- I really want to automate my business, how do I do that?
- I don't have the money to higher a designer, could I just pay you to consult and help me build a website?
- How do I get people to sign my documents electronically?
- How do I take payment on my website?
- How do you manage your client relationships?
- I want to go paperless–how do I do that?
- I have all these business cards from networking, how do I save them?
- I have old computers with loads of files, how do get access to all the files?
- I want to start a WordPress website but how do I start?
- Do you know anyone that wants to be my assistant?
Without a doubt, I probably could make more money if I invoiced every person that asked me these questions and set up a separate meeting, BUT that's not who I am. It's not to say that I won't invoice clients if we both agree it is needed but these are questions,I could probably answer with just a how-to video, blog post or a webinar so just like any entrepreneurial person–that's what I'm planning on doing…
Stay tuned for more info about B16.co, a membership site that I'm launching in 2018. I will have some unreleased interviews before CEO Chat launched, premium content (e.g. one pagers, ebooks, etc.) and prereleased content from CBNation.co, access to members only Slack Channel (when it launches) and more only available to those that are members. Oh yea and the best part–memberships start at less than a cup of coffee each week–$8.88/month (no contracts) or like I say “Netflix prices” (Ask me why it's going to be that price). My goal is simply to try to save busy entrepreneurs and business owners time–everyone's most valuable resource and frustration.
Tools that I use
- GSuite – Professional e-mail powered by Gmail for your business or organization.
- Evernote – Where I keep all my notes. I’ve gone completely digital.
- Stock Photography – Are you using stock photography or want to know where to get them? This is a site.
- Freshbooks – We use for our invoicing and time tracking.
- WPEngine – WordPress Hosting.
- Acuity – Tool that I use for scheduling. Switched from Vcita. Check it out here www.progreshion.com/introcall.
- Grasshopper – A cloud phone system that I use.
- CEO Web Shop – Domain registration and hosting and some other web services.
- Call Tracking Metrics – Track calls on your website and offline materials to see where calls are coming from.
- WeWork – Looking for a coworking space? These are some options for you across the globe.
- CBNation.co Directory – Add your business to the CBNation.co Directory and increase your visibility.
- Insightly – CRM used to manage relationships and communications.
- Constant Contact & MailChimp – Email Marketing to build your list and attract clients and customers. I usually say Constant Contact costs more initially but they have a ton of support while MailChimp is more DIY. We use both and theirs strengths and weaknesses of each.
- Canva – Photoshop without the complexity. Make your own flyers, social media graphics and more. Great tool for designers and non-designers.
Now, full-disclosure some of these are affiliate links that I have added only because I use them. The CBNation.co site has a catalog of some of these tools and some that we don't use. Also, check back to this blog for posts on apps and tools that I use or test (I'm always hacking) that you might help you be more efficient.